Reports in Spain Suggest Acceleration of Gambling Ad Ban

Media reports in Spain are claiming the proposed ban on gambling-related advertisements is to be enforced early. Potentially leading to a clash with La Liga clubs who have ties with betting companies.

Man in Spain

Spanish Media Report Gambling-Related Ad Ban Imminent © Pixabay.

If Media reports coming out of Spain are true, the government is jumping the gun on legislation that will ban football clubs from displaying imagery of gambling companies. Several news outlets have stated that the government announced last Friday that it was going to prohibit the display of gambling firms’ logos on sports clubs’ online assets beginning in October. This is despite the fact that Spain’s proposed new laws had not received Royal Decree nor been approved by the European Union.

There was no mention of a grace period in the announcement, a surprise as the initial bill stated there would be a “short transitional period” to allow clubs and operators time to amend promotional materials and their online publications.

If this part of the ban is enforced, clubs will only have the remainder of this month to remove any logos and assets owned by gambling firms displaying on sports clubs’ online media and other digital channels, including campaigns and advertisement. This ruling will affect the club’s homepages as well as other platforms such as YouTube channels. If the reports of this implementation of certain parts of the Royal Decree are true, operators will not be taken by total surprise. The newly elected Minister of Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzón, submitted his proposals in February and he had hoped these new laws would be in place by summer this year.

The trade association that represents the interests of gambling companies in Spain has slammed the government over the proposed advertisement ban, calling new rules “unwarranted”. JDigital described he proposed regulations as “equally disproportionate and unjustified”, indicating that 80% of Spanish online gambling operators opposed the measures.

The trade body has called on the European Commission not to approve the proposed legislation because it is unnecessary and discriminates between private gambling operators and state-owned entities. They question how the state-owned lottery was allowed to sign a sponsorship deal with two Spanish sports federations less than a day after the submission of the law to the EC. Such a practice would be outlawed for football clubs and other sporting teams when the Royal Decree is enacted.

A statement from JDigital read: It is inadmissible that the EC accepts the request for emergency for the approval of a regulation that presents such a different treatment between public and private gambling, especially when gambling is a legal activity in Spain, already subject to strict controls and regulatory measures, most of them self-imposed by the sector itself. The trade body also questions, whether vulnerable groups would be protected by the changes and highlighted that sports clubs, will lose €80m (£72m) in ad revenue. It is money they can ill-afford to lose with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic they state.

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